Cold Calling Training | Skills + Practice = Success

Cold Calling Training Courses

In this article we will cover...

Cold Calling Training – Top question from Google

How do you Train for cold calling?

HERE’S THE SHORT ANSWER:

  1. Thoroughly research your target audience and what’s important to them
  2. Ensure you know exactly how your product or service impacts your customer and the value it delivers
  3. Plan your day and make sure you have prepared your call lists in advance
  4. Use a CRM or other tool to track every call you make
  5. Use email and social media in combination to increase your success
  6. Slow down – build rapport first and add value before you ask for anything
  7. Embrace the NO’s, don’t take it personally and understand, success is following your process consistently
  8. If you are not getting more No’s than Yeses then you are not talking to enough people
  9. Test everything and keep testing everything, so you can learn and improve

Some sales people dread the thought of cold calling, and many customers hate receiving endless cold calls from various companies trying to sell them products or services that they don’t want.

In this changing world, many of us don’t even make a phone call in our personal lives, as we swap traditional phone calls for instant messaging and social media.

However, cold calling is a tried and tested sales channel which has been used for decades to secure new customers, and can still play an important part in your outbound sales strategy.  

Whilst cold calling might not seem to be the in thing, most companies still have some form of cold calling operations. In fact, cold calling is considered to be the most used sales technique in the world.

Consultative Sales Training

1. Cold calling is dead, long live cold calling

The way in which modern buyers operate has changed. Many buyers are more savvy now, and don’t like to be sold to, but they do like to buy.

With this in mind, you might think that cold calling has had its day, and should be consigned to the bin. Whilst the world has moved on, cold calling can still be a really effective sales tool.

Salespeople do however need to adapt their practices to suit the modern buyer. Gone are the days of aimlessly working through a spreadsheet, today’s cold callers need to work in a much more targeted and smarter way.

If you’re considering using cold calling as a route to market it’s important your sales reps are properly trained and not simply “winging” it on every call. Our telephone cold calling course will help your sales reps develop a positive attitude, refine your cold calling process, improve their objection handling skills and sales techniques.

2. What is the definition of a cold call?

A cold call is simply when you telephone a stranger who is not expecting your call. At some stage it is highly likely that we have either cold called someone, or been cold called ourselves, either in a work capacity or in our personal lives.

If you have met the potential customer previously at a trade show or had some previous communication with them, then that is not a cold call.

Similarly, if you have corresponded with the prospective buyer before, maybe sent them some promotional material either via email or LinkedIn, this is not a cold call.

The latter examples are called “Warm Calling”, which typically has a much higher success rate, but as you would expect, lead in times and costs are more expensive for warm calling.

Why Sales Training is Important
Cold Calling Training Course

3. Cold Calling Training

Many sales people do not get sufficient cold calling training, either in terms of quantity or quality. This may be because companies they are reluctant to invest in their teams and assume that in cold calling the volume of calls is king.

However, this approach is counterproductive to creating and maintaning a good brand, securing new customers and increasing profits and revenue for your company.

One bad cold call could have ramifications for your business, as it could give a negative impression of your business and destroy your brand reputation.

Not only can this mean that the person being cold called will be very unlikely to order from your company, but they may tell their colleagues and business network of their poor experience, starting a chain of dissatisfaction. If this happens time and time again, it could become a major problem for your business.

Cold calling is a difficult job, there is no getting away from that. As you are jumping into the unknown you have no idea as to who is on the other side, they could be aggressive towards you, or just look to play with you and waste your time.

However, all of that anguish can be overcome by the feeling of success in pulling off a sale or booking a meeting, where originally there may have been little chance of success.

Like most things in life, you get out of cold calling what you put in. If you are willing to learn, and put in the hard graft of calling a seemingly endless array of people, you will get some success.

Making cold calls and repeating the cold calling process will help cement those practices into your sales pitch, but it may take thousands of calls for you to perfect it.

Unfortunately, somewhere along those thousands of calls, you are likely to encounter a troublesome customer and a lot of rejection. It is important that you don’t let this put you off.

Klozers offer specialist cold calling training courses, which can be a useful investment if your cold calling isn’t getting the right results, or you want to try to source new customers via cold calling techniques.

There are also a whole host of videos and books on sales training (and specifically telephone sales), which can give great tips and insights. However, for many, this is only a substitute for good sales training and experience. 

Our cold calling training is popular with both new sales reps, and existing people who want to improve their cold calling techniques.

4. Marketing vs Telesales

Unsurprisingly, almost all marketing executives will tell you that telephone prospecting is a waste of time, and companies should focus their attention on marketing – resulting in greater budgets for their teams.

Marketing is hugely important, however, it is reactive and not pro-active, and that might not work for you. 

As an example, if you have a proven niche software solution and are selling into a vertical such as Hotel Chains within the Hospitality sector, would you wait on all the Hotels seeing your marketing material and then contacting you, or simply get your business development team to contact them directly?

Yes, in an ideal world they will be familiar with your brand before the sales reps contact them, but the point is you would never advocate sitting around waiting on them to contact you.

Effective modern businesses should look to combine both of these techniques. Cold calling has its place, but marketing should always be viewed as the main lead generator for the business.

Cold Calling Training Course

4. What makes a good Telesales Team?

* Preparation

When we think of cold calling, we might think of sales reps being in an endless rush, jumping from potential customer to potential customer without a thought. However, proper preparation is an important part of successful cold calling. In some instances, scripts can be a useful tool. If scripts are used then the sales rep should prepare and learn the script, so they can sound engaging on the phone, rather than robotic.

* Record Keeping

Keeping track of your progress as a cold caller is an important part of the cold calling process. It can be demoralising making call after call and getting making no progress, but if the company or sales person keeps an efficient log of call rates then this can motivate the sales reps. For example, if a cold calling sales team know they have a success rate of 1 in 50, and the sales person has made 15 calls without any success, they know that this can be a common occurrence and if they use their skills correctly a sale may be round the corner.

* Plan for the day ahead

Modern business is full of statistics, and every last detail can be logged somewhere. This can be useful in looking at the success rates of cold calling. Are there particular times of the day, days of the week, or parts of the month when telephone prospecting is more successful than others.

If clear patterns emerge then sales teams should double up their efforts to take advantage of the successful patterns. When cold calling is less successful then this time could be better spent on team training or meetings. It would be poor team planning if a weekly meeting was scheduled on the most successful time of the week!

If it takes you a couple of calls in the morning to full get into the swing of things, then you can always keep your best prospects back a couple of hours, or even keep them until the time/day when you know cold calls are more successful. You will however, need to work around the availability of the buyer.

* Follow Up

Following up with a cold call contact is vitally important. During the phone call you might think that the person isn’t interested, but even a short follow up email could bring them onto your side. The buyer may not have heard about your company before, and be sceptical of your business claims.

If they are provided with some material material and links to your website, they can corroborate your information themselves, which is a powerful tool. Emails which are sent after a cold call have a surprisingly high open rate.

* Practice makes permanent

If you want to be good at something you need to practice, practice and practice some more. It is thought that to become a cold calling expert you need to dedicate 10,000 hours to doing it.

You will need to guard against practice making bad habits permanent. It can be easy to rid ourselves or our sales teams of bad traits if they don’t do it too often or they have just started, but once they are embedded it can be much harder to get rid off.

Therefore, it is important that salespeople receive training prior to starting cold calling, and that regular sales training and review procedures are in place to avoid problems becoming permanent.

* Share ideas and experience across the team

Sales people are naturally competitive people, they will want to beat their colleagues in the number of sales or appointments secured. However, there is a lot to be said for teamwork. Debriefing at the end of the day can be used to refine sales pitches to what works and what doesn’t work. Sharing experiences both good cold calls and bad can also be reassuring to colleagues.

Cold calls don’t always go to plan, and it can be a good idea to expect the unexpected, and prepare as an individual or as a team for what response you should give in unexpected circumstances.

Record Sales Calls

5. What makes cold calling so difficult?

As we said earlier cold calling is difficult, but don’t let that put you off making it an important part of your sales strategy. Modern buyers have become more adapt to fending of pushy salespeople, especially if it is via a cold call.

Cold calling has a low conversion rate, meaning that cold callers will need to make a significant number of calls to secure an appointment or order. It is thought the average conversion rate of securing an appointment via cold calls is between 1 – 3%.

Inevitably not everyone who agrees to an appointment will place an order, so its success can be low.

Securing a telephone number of a prospective client can be a difficult task in itself. Many major businesses do not advertise the relevant information, leaving salespeople to bounce between departments trying to find the right person.

6. Cold Calling Training Courses

Klozers offer specialist cold calling courses for any industry, which can help your sales team improve their cold calling skills and success rate. Courses are suitable for new salespeople and experienced salespeople who might need a refresher.

Sales Courses can be tailored to the needs of the attendees, so if there is an issues which is specific to a particular industry, it can be addressed in the training. Whilst not technically cold calling, our courses can also include how to convert incoming sales calls.

Cold calling training can include high paced boot camps which cram a lot of learning into one day. The fast-paced environment of a boot camp training session is well matched with the fast pace of cold calling.

As people learn through experience, many training sessions include live demonstrations of cold calling skills, and role play to improve learning outcomes.

Some companies limit the amount of participants from any one company attending a training session together. This ensures that the sessions aren’t dominated by the concerns of requirements of one single company. It also allows the sharing of ideas from different companies to benefit everyone.

Like many businesses cold calling providers have adapted their practices in response to the changing world of COVID-19. Online cold calling courses are now far more common than they would have been a few years ago. This can reduce the time and expense of travel.

Bespoke training packages are available, which includes ongoing 1-2-1 sales coaching, which can be useful to continuously motivate your sales team, keep their performance fresh and vibrant and ensure that bad habits don’t creep in.

7 Reasons you should consider Web Based Sales Training

web based sales training

Web Based Sales Training – Top question from Google

Is Online Sales Training Effective?

Online sales training is effective because it helps organisations

  • Reduce travel time to live events
  • Provide a better work life balance by reducing time that salespeople spend away from home
  • Reduced deliver costs of sales training
  • Faster communication and collaboration
  • Reinforcement of new sales strategies and tactics after initial training
  • Improved accountability to help salespeople with new behaviours
  • Ongoing support for existing and new salespeople


Online sales training has improved dramatically and should be considered as part of your overall sales education.

Web based sales training or online sales training has become an essential aspect of sales education, since the advent of lockdowns and the subsequent trend in working from home.

The art of virtuality has become an advantage for every industry to work or study while staying home.

Despite this many businesses struggle to provide a comprehensive business case for online training versus the more traditional face to face classroom approach.

Whilst face to face training still has an important role to play in sales education, here are some areas you might consider when evaluating the different options available.

#web based sales training

1. Reduced Travel Time

Traditionally Face to Face training has been delivered via one and two day events.  In most cases there were held in hotels and conference centres.  With more and more companies employing sales teams who are geographically remote some attendees could spend a day travelling to attend the event and a day travelling to return home.  That’s three days for one day of learning. 

With Web Based Training you don’t have to drive hundreds of miles just to come to work. You won’t need to get up early to beat the rush hour traffic and you don’t need a huge budget to get started.

web based sales training

2. Work Life Balance

For many people finding time for family has become an important part of their job.  Hybrid working has allowed many people to eliminate lengthy commutes enabling them to spend extra quality time with their loved ones. 

Web based sales training is part of that solution, providing either self-paced training, and or structured classes online, that sales teams can attend from home.

3. Delivery Costs

Traditionally In person training for any sales team has been delivered via classrooms and hotel meeting rooms.  Add to this the cost of overnight accommodation at in person training events, and the costs can quickly begin to escalate, even for a small team.

Many training vendors will pass on the reduction of delivery costs to clients, as they themselves save costs on travel and accommodation for their sales trainers.

4. Faster Collaboration and Communication

Most traditional training would be termed as “impact training”.  They are one off events designed to kick start learning and development. 

Whilst there is still a place for this type of training many companies have found that salespeople need help when they need help.  They don’t want to save their question for the next sales training event in three months’ time.  Web based sales training provides learning on tap, when the salespeople need it most.

Klozers online training provides real time support to our clients via both live chat and email. Our web based team provide support to our clients “in the moment” so they can learn while they are working.

5. Reinforcement of Training

Many studies have shown that participants can forget up to 95% of the content from one and two-day training events without any form of reinforcement.

Regardless of the quality of the sales trainer or the course content salespeople simply cannot absorb all the information they receive on one and two-day sales courses.  Sales Training correlates directly to growth in personal development and this does not happen overnight.

Changes to sales strategy, sales techniques, sales process and selling skills all contribute to sales success but need to be approached with a long term view. There is no magic wand in sales and sales success comes via both hard work and developing your sales force in terms of overall sales performance.

Web based sales training is typically spread out over longer periods and works by a drip effect where content is delivered in a  “little and often” format that is easier to absorb. 

6. Sales Accountability

One of the most important parts of the best sales training courses is the implementation and support after the training has taken place. Not only will your sales reps need support but your sales management will also need help to implement changes on the selling process, selling skills and behaviours of the sales team.  

Unfortunately many sales professionals attend training and then return to their job and continue to do what they always have done.  This is not a recipe for success.

Change for any human is difficult and most of us need support in order to do this.  With web based training Klozers provide ongoing coaching support for both the course participants and their sales managers to ensure any changes in sales process, new sales skills and behaviours are fully adopted.

7. Ongoing Support

Many companies continue to hire new staff after any training event.  This could be to simply replace salespeople who have left or as part of their expansion plans. 

It’s often not financially viable to bring in a sales trainer every time there are changes to your sales team and the ability to deliver training online to new employees is therefore hugely important. 

Most web based training is self paced and can be recorded. This can then be used to build up a library that can be accessed on an ongoing basis for both existing and new sales professionals.

Traditional In-person training will always have a place in modern sales education, however, it’s important to consider the alternatives.  Whilst budgets and individual circumstances must always be considered web based training is here to stay and an important part of every ongoing sales training program. 

Klozers provides a full range of both face to face and web based sales training courses. Each of these feature live training where participants can interact.

In addition to our training we provide ongoing support via sales coaching. If your sales force needs help with developing your value proposition, sales prospecting, reducing your sales cycle, selling skills, win repeat business or sales presentations we would love to talk with you.

Our goal is to help you achieve your business objectives, small your sales targets and achieve the sales success you are seeking.

Sales Performance Review Template

Sales Performance Review Template Cover

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

Sales Performance Review Template – Top question from Google

How do you write a Sales Performance Review?

To write a fair and balanced sales performance review you should:

  • Hold performance reviews on a monthly basis
  • Use a sales performance review template to ensure consistency, record actions and ensure accountability
  • Wherever possible base the review on data and not opinions
  • Tie sales performance into coaching, salary and career progression
  • Link sales performance to encourage the development of new sales skills

Fill out the form to the right and download our Sales Performance review template.

You can customise this to your unique situation and start driving sales performance within the hour.

Why Sales Performance Reviews are Important

Many companies and sales managers overlook the importance of regular and structured sales performance reviews with their sales reps.  Sometimes they know how important these meetings are, but they slip from the diary because of other pressures within the business.

More often than not, employees are reduced to an annual performance review, that does little to evaluate performance, let alone drive professional growth.

There are a myriad of reasons you should make time for these meetings, probably none more so that employee retention.  The cost of finding and hiring good sales people is rising so it surely makes sense to do everything we can to retain our people after this investment.

The pandemic, lockdowns and working from home have all served to make sales people rethink their lifestyle and life goals.  Statistics show in 2021, 48 million people quit their jobs, 41% of the global workforce are considering quitting their jobs and 46% are considering relocating in the next 12 months. 

Those companies and sales managers who are slow to realign their management and work processes are sure to struggle to keep their best salespeople.

Improving Sales Performance

Performance reviews and 121’s are a crucial part of not only an employees progression, but also there wellness. Professional selling can be stressful and mental wellbeing is hugely important.

They are a great way to ensure the company’s goals as well as those of the individual are being met and ensuring the employees career path is being recognised.

If a sales professional is having any challenges in their work or personal life, a performance review is their opportunity to discuss this with their sales manager.

A performance review should be a safe place for the sales rep to discuss there wants needs, what they are good at and what needs worked on. Far from an anxiety causing and scary meeting with the boss, they should be a place where they have someone they can speak to in confidence.

As a manager, you want to know that your employees are people you can trust. In turn, they need to feel the same from you and 121’s are a great way to do that.

Setting sales goals, discussing what they really want from the job and where they want to go, are a crucial part of their position. If the employee feels recognised and heard, they will then be more inclined to thrive in their position and work to their best ability.

Sales Managers should hold Performance Reviews at least quarterly, but ideally they should be held every month so that you, as the sales manager, can manage the sales reps role, their expectations, and get the most out of them.

SaaS Sales Playbook Cover
SaaS Sales Playbook

What should I discuss in a Sales Performance Review?

Modern selling now has so many different roles it’s difficult to provide a one size fits all formula for everyone in sales.  For example, the performance review for an SDR will be very different to that of an account manager. We would strongly encourage you to develop specific reviews and key metrics based on the different roles in sales.

The Performance Review process should be kept fairly informal – it’s not a disciplinary meeting, it’s a safe space for your employee to be open and honest. Your Sales Rep should be comfortable to ask questions in a private setting and air any problems they may have.

At Klozers our Sales Management philosophy is built around the four high value areas of sales, namely:

Finding – what are we consistently and proactively doing to find new sales prospects and opportunities?

Klozing – when we find new deals are we following our sales process and maximising the opportunity?

Growing – are we actively locking in new accounts and growing the revenue from them?

Developing – what are we personally doing to stretch, grow, learn and push ourselves?

Combine these with your Vision and Core Values and by focussing on these four areas, it’s simply impossible not to sell more.

Your Sales Representatives should come away feeling motivated and energised. A 121 is a great way to build and maintain strong relationships with your sales team. Feedback should always be provided especially when the staff member is voicing performance problems of things they may be struggling with.

Constructive feedback is never a bad thing, but employee performance only ever increases by praise and recognition of all the good things that they have achieved.

If they have been working hard throughout the month and this is the only time you have to catch up with them, then this is their only chance to hear praise and praise which will make them feel good and work harder.

If the Sales Professional never hears from there manager and is never told when they are doing a good job, they can sometimes feel paranoid and not appreciated – no one wants their sales team to feel like that.

Sales Performance Review Template
Sales Performance Review Examples

Road Map & Career Path

A crucial part of the performance review process is about driving professional growth, setting career goals within the company: where do they want to go in this job? How can they get there?

Can they gain experience in different departments? Is there additional training they can do to get them there quicker?

Having clearly defined learning paths is much easier than most companies think and providing every employee with simple milestones they can follow to progress is essential.

A Sales Professional should be treated as a person growing withing the company, not just a number. So, discussing different career paths is a great way to show the sales professional just how far they could potentially go.

Advanced Sales Training
Klozers Performance Reviews

121’s for Salespeople Working Remotely

If you have sales preps who are working remotely, then a 121 is equally important as performance reviews. Whilst working from home has improved the work life balance of many Sales Professionals,  helped them be more productive and cost effective, for many, it can be isolating and lonely.

Many salespeople are “people people”.  They thrive around other human beings which is one of the reasons they love being in sales.  Working from home for many has been a real culture change and a shock to most salespeople.   

Sales Reps are sometimes reluctant to speak up and ask questions in a group setting, or if there is no rapport with the sales manager.  Every sales professional needs to feel comfortable in the workplace – even though they are at home.

For new employees 121’s and team meeting are also great ice breakers and a way to get to know your colleagues. This way, they will feel more comfortable coming to you when they need help or have a problem. Start off with get to know me sessions.

These are very much informal compared to a performance review and a great way for you both to get to know each other. Discuss likes and dislikes, hobbies and interest, what they enjoy doing in their spare time. Keeping this on a personal level to begin with will make the staff member feel very much at ease and most likely they will feel appreciated that you have taken the time to get to know them.

Following up Sales Performance Reviews

Many sales managers are managers and not leaders.  The best sales managers work hard to support their sales teams, versus those that are directing their salespeople and following spreadsheets. 

Often the difference between a manager and a leader is simply the things they do for the salespeople.  What may seem insignificant and unimportant to the manager can be the opposite to salespeople.  The best managers are people focussed first and work focussed second.

With that said, there is no doubt how difficult this can be with the constant pressure to meet or exceed sales targets.

As a sales manager you must ensure you follow up on any of the actions you have discussed in the Performance Review. A record of the meeting should always be documented to provide the sales reps with a record of everything that was discussed. 

This also provides a road map of what they are going to work towards, until the next performance review and helps hold them and the sales manager accountable.

This is a great way to monitor progress as it gives both the sales manager and the sales professional the opportunity to look over previous goals and discuss where they are in relation to the agreed targets and what needs to be worked on.

Sales Managers are arguably the most important part of any sales team. They set the bar in terms of employee performance and what is acceptable, and what is not. Great sales teams need great sales managers – invest in your sales management now.

 

SDR Sales Training Courses that Work

SDR sales training courses

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

SDR Sales Training Courses – Top question from Google

How do you train an SDR?

Most SDR training courses highlight the following steps, or similar to help train your SDR team:

  • Use a sales training template.
  • Provide clear learning paths aligned with progression
  • Set expectations.
  • Build a culture of collaboration.
  • No-such-thing-as-a-stupid-question policy.
  • Create a template for SDR/Account Executive meetings.
  • Teach your Sales Development Team to be curious.
  • Constantly provide actionable feedback
  • Give your team time.

We think you can do much more than this.

Training your team of Sales Development Reps may start in the classroom (virtual or otherwise) however, this is just the start of the learning journey.  In order to build a successful sales organization there are many other areas you should consider.

SDR Sales Training Courses
SDR Sales Training Courses

Here’s the short answer – Run a 1 Day Sales Bootcamp

  • Session 1 – Sales Psychology.  Build the mindset, goals and activities of a Sales Winner. Discover the psychology behind every sale and how you can use this to your advantage.
  • Session 2 – Discovery and Qualifying.  In order to sell, you need to be in front of the right people, at the right time, with the right message.  Get this right and sales becomes a lot easier.
  • Session 3 – Mastering the complex Sale. How to identify different decision makers with different and often competing priorities.  
  • Session 4 – Filling your Sales Funnel. Discover short and long term strategies for driving new sales enquiries whilst maximising your productivity. This session includes our omnichannel lead generation approach and will demonstrate how to use the telephone, cold email and LinkedIn in combination to fill your sales funnel.

Whilst there is no doubt that ongoing learning via the “little and often” philosophy is important in terms of sales development, Sales Bootcamps are a great way to kick start the learning process.

SaaS Sales Training Bootcamps are typically 1 or 2 day sales courses.  They are intensive by nature and provide SDR’s with a vast amount of information from which they can refer back to. Sales Bootcamps work best when they are used in conjunction with an existing sales campaign and ongoing sales coaching. 

The bootcamps provide the training which is the knowledge, and the sales coaching helps the sdrs with the practical application of the knowledge. 

In addition to SDR training, Bootcamps are popular for training topics such as Sales Fundamentals training which is designed for people who are completely new to sales and need a lot of information quickly, as part of their onboarding process. 

SDR Sales Training

The job of a sales development representative (SDR) is a challenging and valued position within any business. It is important to ensure your SDRs are aware of their impact within the business and how their performance will help the business grow.

Unfortunately most Sales Development Reps tend to leave after a year. Most business owners will tell you the SDRs weren’t cut out for the position or that their SDRs left to climb the sales ladder elsewhere.

At Klozers, although we believe that could be partly true, it’s often a more complex situation.  

People typically leave because they fall out of love with their sales manager and the company.  Part of sales management is providing the best training possible and then continuing to build upon existing sales skills to help SDRs hit targets regularly.

Modern sales management includes providing professional development linked to a career path even if that means that the sales representative has to leave the company to develop their sales career. The more you invest in them the longer they will stay.

No sales professional wants to miss sales targets, nobody wants to work in a business where selling is like wading through treacle. People want to win, they want to sell, and a big part of sales management is making your team successful.

An SDR training course is a prerequisite for this and will help your sales team improve cold calling, social selling, communication skills and other sales skills unique to your service.

A Sales Professionals job never ends, there will always be prospects to serve! It only makes sense to establish ongoing sales training to help SDRs keep up-to-date on new sales trends, competitors, new product releases, new training tools and so on.

Not only will this help improve the efficiency of your business, this will enhance employee retention and job satisfaction.

The key to any successful SDR training course is to keep it simple and set clear expectations of what you expect from your Sales Team and what they can expect from you. This means building a strong culture of communication and collaboration within the team.

In addition to sales training we would encourage you to consider developing a comprehensive learning programme for your sales teams that include:

1. Company 

History, people

Sales Vision & Values

2. What we sell

Products and services,

3. What problems we solve

Pain points, value proposition, 

4. Who we sell to

Ideal client profile, Perfect Prospect Profile

5. How we sell

Sales Process

6. Sales Competencies

For a list of our 21 recommended sales competencies download our SaaS Sales Playbook here.

Sales Training Topics

Most SDR training plans will include topics such as setting targets, training, mentoring, culture, rejection, and customer personas. Topics such as customer personas for example are key to ongoing marketing success.

Understanding customer personas helps your SDR’s learn what drives prospects to purchase your product or service. This also helps your SDR’s to understand the customer profile that your business draws in, and helps your SDR team to narrow down what the prospect wants out of your company.

This is also a great way for your Sales Reps to have a natural yet targeted conversation whether that be by phone, email, or in person. 

At Klozers we use two different models for customer personas. The first is the ideal client profile or ICP which refers to the actual businesses that fit our criteria and secondly the perfect prospect profile. This profile is specific to the different buyers within and organisation and the differing pain pints they may have.

A really important topic to cover in your SDR training is rejection and mindset. We all experience rejection day to day, so why is it so discouraging when it happens when speaking to potential customers?

Most SDR’s are new to the role and want to prove their worth. Sales prospecting can be disheartening for them and quickly demotivate them. In sales, if you are not getting told no more than yes, then you are not talking to enough people.   The first ‘No’ an SDR receives will be the first of many.

A great way to learn from this experience would be to ask your prospect why they declined. Take a look at reviewing your SDR’s sales strategy and practice listening skills and responses.

Being told ‘No’ is common practice in the sales, how your Sales Rep handles that conversation is key to their progression within the sales world.

Sales Prospect Profile Template
Perfect Prospect Profile Template

Sales Training Exercises

Before any Sales Professional makes a sales prospecting call, they should always be ready to answer the four most basic questions any potential customers may ask on the call such as:

  • Why is the SDR contacting the prospect?
  • Why should the prospect talk with the SDR?
  • What information does the SDR need from the prospect?
  • What questions or doubts might the prospect have?

A great way for your Sales team to prepare for these questions is to role play with their colleagues. Ask your SDR’s to put themselves in your prospect’s shoes.

An interesting way to include the team with this is to pick one SDR as the caller, and the other SDR’s to role play as the potential new prospect.

Ask each SDR role playing as the prospect to ask these questions in a quick fire round. This exercise allows your SDR playing the role of the caller to be quick on their feet when answering questions.

Another great exercise would be to ask each SDR in your team to give a brief talk on their favourite subject to the rest of the team. Challenge the other SDR’s in your team to take notes of how many filler words the speaker uses such as like, um, uh, well, so, okay etc.

The aim of this exercise is for the speaker to use as little filler words as they can. This will help your SDR’s appear more professional, confident and push their value proposition to their prospects

Advanced Sales Training
Klozers Sales Training

Free SDR Training Courses

With so much free sales training available we are sometimes not the first choice everyone. A quick search on the internet will show that there are lots of free SDR training courses and materials all available online, picking the best one for you and your business is the tricky part.

A lot of the free online courses available are pre recorded and offer no chance to ask questions or interact with the sales trainer.  This is not a great learning environment. 

In addition to the importance of Live Training, we also understand that everyone learns differently, which is why it’s important to follow 4 key and easy steps, Consistency, assistance, practice, and progression.

1. Consistency

Ensure that your training for your SDR team is consistent. Scheduling in the training for your team shows your commitment to your team to help them become the best Sales Reps they can be.

It’s important to stick to your training schedule to show your team that you value them and their development. This is a great way to help keep your SDR’s within your business.

2. Assistance

Assist your team with their learning. Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. By researching different learning styles such as role playing, cold call games, and live call feedback you will help all the Sales Reps in your team. This is a great way to also include every SDR in the training by running through different mock examples.

3. Practice

Here at Klozers, we firmly believe practice makes perfect. It’s important to remember that most SDR’s have little to no prior experience in sales development. A great way to get your SDR team started could be to set a task to complete.

For example, record your SDR’s cold calls and play them back. Ask your SDR team to provide 3 things they think they could’ve done to improve that call. Encourage your SDR’s to think of their tone of voice and the language they use during the call. This can help them understand what they are doing successfully, and what they can improve on.

4. Progression

Progression is what all SDR’s want to achieve, this is a reason why a lot of Sales Reps leave the business to pursue a career elsewhere. Creating a training plan which incorporates the SDR’s progression within the business is a great way to keep them on track, and understand the value they add to your business.

All Inside Sales Professionals wants to prove their worth and show they can do the job at hand, but make sure not to let your SDR’s run before they can walk!

A simple tip would be to include scheduled 1-1 meetings with the sales manager to discuss their progress, their sales pipeline, offer feedback and work out a development plan together for each SDR.

Advanced Sales Training Roleplay

Coaching Sales Behaviours | Bringing out the Best

Coaching Sales Behaviours

Coaching Sales Behaviours – Top question from Google

How do you coach a sales person?

Unfortunately like sales there is no one way to coach a sales person that works every time. After all sales people are all individuals and therefore different so what works with one, may not work with the next.

With that said there are many commonalities and examples of best practice that will get you started on the path to success.

  1. Mindset. Success in sales like many other areas in life is hugely dependant on mindset. Confidence, self belief, imposter syndrome, phone fear and self sabotage are all to common in sales people. With the right support these problems can be overcome, however, there is one area of mindset that many ignore – hunger. The best sales people are all hungry. Hungry to learn, hungry to help others and hungry for their own success. Whilst Vision Boards and Goal setting undoubtedly have a positive impact if the sales person you are coaching is not hungry for their own success you have a major problem. Many sales people ended up in sales by accident and many sales people are simply stuck in their current role and find it easier to stay than move on. Research from the Objective Management Group shows that between Sales Management & HR, 77% of sales hires are the wrong people. You can teach strategy, you can teach skills, but you can’t teach hunger.
  1. Planning. Many companies and sales managers lack the time to implement personal development plans to their sales teams. Coaching often then becomes ad hoc, unstructured which in turn is reflected in the outcomes. In order for sales coaching to be successful and deliver an ROI, some simple planning needs to take place. In our experience it’s always best to work backwards from the objectives and tasks that the business need to happen. From there managers should document the skills required to successfully complete the tasks, followed by a GAP analysis, highlighting where the sales people are now, versus where they need to be. Lastly, this should all be documented and progress tracked to show the benefit for both the business and the coachee.
  1. Focus. When coaching sales people it’s important to find a balance between what should be done and what can be done. Rather than giving sales people 3-4 different objectives after the coaching, we have always found it best to only give the coachee one objective to complete before the next session. This allows the sales rep to focus on one skill and perfect it before moving on to the next. A laundry list of objectives is rarely completed to any level of competency that the business would desire.
  1. Data. It’s important for sales coaching to be both objective and fair in order for it to be successful. Where possible we therefore always advocate a data led approach. Data demonstrating the success and best practice of others is difficult for sales reps to deny. This in turn leads to the importance of CRM in any sales organisation, as this is where the majority of data resides.
  1. Coaches. For obvious reasons coaching is different to management, so a sales coach cannot force a sales rep to do anything in terms of the outcomes of each session. Conversely, if Sales Managers are doing the coaching then they can instruct the sales people to do things, however, if the manager has to “tell” the coachee what to do, then there is typically a problem with the mindset and any success will be limited.
Sales Motivation

At Klozers our Sales Performance coaching uses Sales Scorecards, which ensure accountability for the students. This is first used to identify a baseline, which is used to kick start and structure the sales coaching. To be effective, sales coaching should look at sales in a holistic manner. This will include addressing the all the key components of sales success, which are Mindset, Sales Craft, Activity and Development.

All successful sales people have the right mindset for success. Throughout a sales career, it is impossible to achieve success on every call or presentation. As such, salespeople need to be resilient and bounce back from rejection. Controlling our mind is a hugely important part of a successful career in sales.

We can use simple Vision Boards to identify personal and business goals. Once these have been identified it’s important to draw a correlation between the two which helps ensure sales people are focussed on the goals of the business not just their own.

Craft covers the key sales skills and competencies required to be a successful sales professional. Most modern sales roles require a huge variety of sales skills, some of which are forever changing given the fast paced nature of sales and marketing.

Activity covers the important aspects of preparation, goals, sales planning and sales actions. Development covers an ongoing commitment to improving sales learning. Reflecting on past performance is an important aspect of this section. At regular intervals it is important that salespeople reflect on their performance and use this to adapt their techniques or seek additional coaching or training.

Often when reflecting, salespeople and most sales managers tend to focus on the negative aspects of performance (e.g. the bits that didn’t quite work), but it is equally as important to reflect on the positives. If a certain sales pitch has been successful, then salespeople should reflect on what went well, and how that can be implemented in other sales pitches.

Sales coaching can be conducted online or in person, in a group setting or on a 1-2-1 basis. Regardless of the delivery method, the same coaching models are used.

Coaching Sales Behaviours
Coaching Sales Behaviours

How do you coach an underperforming sales person?

Sales coaching can motivate and enthuse an underperforming sales professional or team more widely. People are hard wired to resist change, and as such sales coaches need to be mindful of this and adapt their coaching methods to suit.

With that said, if you have an underperforming sales person you should follow this process (dependant on the HR laws in your country of residence).

  1. Via a one to one meeting have an open and honest conversation with the sales rep around why the business thinks they are underperforming and what will happen if it continues. In most cases this does not necessarily mean they will lose their job. It could mean they have to retake initial training or have additional coaching. Every situation will vary but it’s important to have this conversation.
  1. Work with the sales rep to understand the root cause of the problem and once you have done this work with them to develop an action plan that will help them overcome their current performance gap. It’s important to include the sales rep in the planning to get their buy in. The plan should detail the responsibilities of the sales rep and the level of performance required.
  1. Lastly, the company and the sales manager should do all they possibly can to help and support the sales rep throughout the coaching period. This includes reviewing their own management and leadership style.

In some cases the sales rep may have already mentally checked out as no one wants to stay in a role that they are not performing in. In some cases, however, it is possible to turn results around and it’s always worth the investment in time and training given how much it costs to replace a sales person.

What is the key to coaching a successful sales team?

The key to coaching a successful sales team is ensuring that there is a culture of learning and growing throughout the team. In order to feed that culture you will require a continuous programme of training and coaching in place. There is no quick fix to achieving the best results.

As identified earlier, one-off sales training courses may have a short-term impact, but after only 30 days its success will ware off. As such, a continuous programme of professional development needs to be in place.

Employees want to feel valued by their employers, and now expect employers to contribute towards their professional development.

Without this in place, there is a concern that your best salespeople will look for other jobs. Recruiting new staff is a resource heavy and expensive process, and you still may end up with the wrong sales staff.

Hiring the wrong sales staff can have direct (lost sales) and indirect (damage to your brand) consequences for your company, so retaining the best staff is vital.

Sales coaching techniques

Sales coaches can use a range of techniques, and some coaches prefer certain techniques more than others. Whichever technique is used, sales coaching should be driven by data and be as factual as possible.

To be effective sales coaching should question the students, and a mixture of directive, non directive and collaborative style questioning can be used.

After sales coaching has been conducted it is important to measure the effectiveness of the coaching to see if it has delivered a suitable ROI.

If the sales coaching isn’t providing to be effective, then amendments will need to be made to it, either in the form of its content, delivery or programme.

Sales coaching models

There is a wide range of sales coaching models available, however, at Klozers we use either the PEDAL model which is Directive Coaching or the GROW model. The easiest way to explain the differences are:

PEDAL – Directive in style. Solving someone’s problem for them.

GROW – Non Directive in style. Helping someone solve their own problem.

In the PEDAL model the process is:

P = Position. The coach positions the reasoning/need for a new sales skill or sales process.

E = Explain. The coach explains how the new skills work.

D = Demonstrates. The coach demonstrates how to execute the new sales skills.

A = Assess. The sales professional practices the new skill and the coach assesses their competency and provides feedback.

L = Links. The coach then links the new skill to the sales reps role and key objectives.

The PEDAL coaching model is commonplace in areas where the correct execution of a skill is paramount and no choice is allowed. For example, when sales professionals need to comply with regulatory procedures, or when sales people need to follow a prove sales process.

But what does the GROW model involve?

GROW stands for:

G = Goal. What are the salespersons goals for the session?

R = Reality. What is the current reality?

O = Obstacles. What obstacles are holding the salesperson or team back?

W = Way. What way and actions do you commit to taking to move forward?

Grow Sales Coaching Model
Grow Sales Coaching Model

Sales Performance Coaching

Selecting the right sales coach is an important step towards improving the sales performance in your team. Quota carrying sales managers can often be swamped by their own workloads, leaving them with little time to fully dedicate towards coaching sales behaviours.

In these circumstances, to avoid missed opportunities and good staff leaving, external sales coaching could be the answer. Our expert coaches at Klozers can help you with all of your sales coaching and training needs.

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

How to Build an Outbound Sales Team – Top question from Google

What is outbound sales?

Outbound sales is the process of a sales team or salespeople initiating engagement with potential and existing customers. This could encapsulate trying to secure new customers, up selling to existing customers, or general account management. In contrast, inbound sales relies on a company’s marketing strategy to drive customer interest, and customers will contact the company to enquire about their services. This blog post will tell you how to build an outbound sales team.

Preparing to go Outbound

In the rush to go outbound many companies either overlook or pay little attention to the core foundation of every successful outbound sales campaign – their value proposition. Without this most campaigns will fail at best, at worst, they will fail you will lose market traction. you will lose your best sales people and you will also lose a lot of money.

A Proven Value Proposition

Many companies make the mistake of trying to scale their sales operations without a proven value proposition with disastrous effects.  Whether you chose to build your own outbound team or to subcontract to a specialist you need a proven value proposition.  The more time and money you invest on proving your value proposition will be returned ten fold in your results.  This does not just apply to Startups.  Those that believe they have already proven their value proposition can equally benefit by refining and fine tuning what they have. 

Words Sell

Whilst most of us would accept the importance of words in the world of Business to consumer few people in B2B dedicate sufficient time and energy to finding the right words to describe our products and services.  Ask and Pay per click specialist who is restricted to 30 characters for the headline and 90 for the description of the importance of word choice.  That’s characters not words.

Technology

We are blessed in the modern sales world with lots of great outbound technologies which makes the outbound process both easier and more productive. From intent data, to auto diallers, to call recording and artificial intelligence there are a plethora of great tools to choose from that will help your outbound team be successful. Be sure to invest the time and budget to arm your sales team with the technology they need.

Sales Leadership

An often overlooked area of business is sales management. Many sales managers have come from a sales background and were at some stage a top sales rep. Unfortunately the skills required for modern sales management are very different to just selling and the position of sales manager is a key hire for any business. Without a great sales manager your best sales reps will leave and the worst reps will stay which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. Company culture is hugely important in any business and no more so than in an inbound and outbound sales team.

In short, without a proven value proposition and good sales management, you will spend more money and take much longer to get where you want to go. These three areas are an essential component for a scalable outbound process.

Consultative Sales Training
Outbound Sales Strategies

Building an Inhouse Team or Outsourcing

When developing an outbound sales team, sales managers and company owners have two choices. They can build an in-house sales team or they can outsource the process to an external agency or group of salespeople.

Each option has its own positives and negatives, and sales managers and company owners should consider these carefully before making any changes.

Through outsourcing their outbound sales operations, companies can hire people with a proven track record of success that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Outsourcing can be more economic for some companies, as they do not have to resource staff training or office space for them. It can also provide more cost flexibility, as the salespeople will not be tied down to long-scale contracts.

In-house sales teams are much more likely to develop excellent product knowledge over time, which they can convey to prospective clients. Outsourcing can also result in a lack of control of the sales process, and the company cannot guarantee that the leads generated are of a sufficient quality until much later.

There are also concerns that an outbound sales team may not be as “bought into” your product, company or company ethos, and this could be purveyed to prospective clients.

Remember, a poor outbound experience is the fastest way to destroy your brand. Badly executed outbound calls will have a negative impact on your brand and could lose you valuable market traction.

Outbound prospecting particularly cold calling, is very different to responding to inbound sales leads. Your sales team and lead generation strategy should be built with this in mind.

web based sales training
Outbound Sales Strategies

What are outbound sales activities?

Outbound sales requires salespeople to go to the potential clients. In contrast, inbound sales where potential clients come to the company, either for more information or to buy their product/service.

Therefore, traditionally outbound sales does not include any marketing or product development tasks.

Outbound selling can be very labour intensive, and in the case of cold calling it needs a high volume of calls to have a meaningful impact on sales. This is because:

80% of cold calls go straight to voice mail – Sales Intel

It takes an average of 18 attempts to reach a technology buyer – Gartner

In addition to being labour intensive, outbound sales has a high churn rate in terms of staff. Many companies struggle to retain the people they have, let alone build a high performing team of SDR’s.

Lead generation is the starting point of an outbound sales process. Some company’s will have a dedicated in-house lead generation team, whilst others leave it for their general salespeople to handle.

In most cases when outbound sales is left to general salespeople it simply doesn’t happen. Sales people have a skill of always finding something “more important” to do than lead generation.

Outbound sales is a contact sport, pure and simple and requires salespeople to contact prospective customers. This could be by telephone, email, LinkedIn or face to face, however predominantly this is done via phone and email.

From our own experience SDR’s who use a multichannel approach are much more successful than those who are only using the telephone or email.

Often as part of the outbound sales role SDR’s will undertake what is known as sales qualification process. This involves a salesperson determining whether or not the lead is likely to become a customer or not.

Once the leads have been qualified, leads are typically then passed to a Business Development Rep whose responsible for any form of product demo and closing the deal.

In more traditional sales organisations this may include setting appointments for the companies field sales reps. The length of the sales process will depend on the target market, the industry and the customer.

As an outbound sales person you will be expected to do the following:

  • Research leads
  • Generate new sales leads
  • Qualifying inbound sales leads and build a sales pipeline
  • Setting appointments with potential or existing customers and follow the sales process
  • Follow up proposals
  • Cold and warm calling
  • Cold and warm emails
  • Social Selling
  • Customer service calls, with a view to upselling
  • Product demos
  • Account Management

Outbound prospecting is especially vital for companies with little or no marketing budget. This is this because in these circumstances, prospective customers are unlikely to come to the company in great numbers, and as such the company will have to go to the potential clients.

Outbound sales strategy

Having a great team of outbound sales reps important, but if they don’t have a good sales strategy to follow, they are unlikely to be successful. Creating a sales strategy should be one of your first tasks when establishing an outbound sales team.

A good outbound sales strategy requires the right sales playbook (script, methods etc.) and the right methods to measure success. Opinions on sales scripts vary, but if you develop a good sales script, it ensures a consistent approach and can help new sales reps get up to speed faster.

Our research here at Klozers, find that sales teams with playbooks are 33% more likely to be high performers. If a sales script is used, preparation should be used so the salesperson will appear to be talking as naturally as possible.

Different sales methods should be explored to see if they will result in more successful sales. For example, consultative selling could result in an increase in sales.

Preparation is key for a successful outbound sales strategy. Salespeople should have all of the data, scripts and tools they need before they start calling. They should also have an excellent knowledge of the products or services.

Whatever sales strategy is used, it is important that there are processes in place to monitor its success. If certain aspects of the strategy haven’t been successful, then either the sales strategy can be amended, or extra training and coaching should be organised.

Data can be used to monitor the most successful times to make outbound sales calls. For example, if the data shows that outbound calls are more successful on a Wednesday afternoon, then greater focus should be placed on this time, and team meetings should be avoided at that time.

Outbound and Inbound Sales Support

At Klozers the inbound and outbound sales process that we teach in our sales training is based on the success we have had in our own business. We will show you exactly the sales strategies and outbound methods that we use every day to target customers, qualifying leads, make a sales call, cold calling, cold emailing and drive customer engagement.

Furthermore, if you would like to optimise your inbound and outbound channels we can teach you how we use content marketing combined with search engine optimisation, to turn our website in to a lead generation machine.

We have a number of ways we support SaaS companies. From advice on recruitment and value proposition development, through to telesales, social selling training and strategy training, we can help you win more business, grow your business. and have more fun along the way.

Klozers has been selected among the Top Lead Generation Companies by Designrush

Consultative Sales Training | How Customers Want to Buy

consultative sales training course

Consultative Sales Training – Top question from Google

What is a Consultative Sales Approach?

Consultative selling is very different to more traditional forms of selling, as it doesn’t actually focus on selling. Instead, it focuses on building relationships with customers, listening to their problems and only then, offering them solutions to their problems.

Asking open-ended questions and active listening are key components of any consultative sales approach. This approach works because potential buyers are more motivated to buy products or services that meet their own needs, rather than the needs of the sales professional.

A consultative sales approach truly puts the buyer first. Instead of just selling any old product, or what happens to be on promotion that month, sales professionals using the consultative sales approach will look to sell products and services that match the exact needs of their buyers, which makes for more productive business development results and satisfied customers.

Instead of a scripted sales pitch, sales teams can use conversational skills and listen to their buyers personal and business needs. Only then do they provide advice and guidance, which includes being adaptable to the different challenges buyers may face.

The consultative sales approach is highly effective and can lead to far greater results for your business and better long term customer relations. Using other sales techniques typically results in salespeople chasing leads that are not a good match for the buyer. Whilst they may well win a first order, if the product isn’t right for the buyer and their customers, it is unlikely that they will build long term relationships.

However, using the consultative approach, the sales rep needs to listen to the customer needs and provide meaningful solutions, meaning your new customer can come back time and time again for your product or services.

It has become increasingly popular in recent years as sales reps and sales managers managers have realised that traditional sales techniques have become less effective, because buyers have become wary of sales pitches. Instead of being sold a product, people prefer their salespeople to take a genuine interest in them as a person and their business.

The key components of a consultative sales approach is as follows:

  • Direct route to market
  • Low volume of sales but high profit margins – less popular but still relevant with transactional sales
  • Requires high level of industry knowledge with experienced sales people
  • Higher cost to employers, with lots of training required
  • Medium to long length sales cycles

Consultative selling requires a change in mindset. Instead of going out to sell, salespeople will need to go and have a conversation with potential buyers, in a structured and reputable manner. Building trust first with any potential buyer is a big aspect of consultative selling.

Initially a lot of sales people struggle to adapt to the consultative sales method, as they are almost hard wired to sell products and services via the traditional features and benefits method. However, if you choose to adapt a consultative sales approach, it is important to stick with it, as modern buyers have become more resistant to being sold products.

Steps involved in Consultative Selling

1. Research potential buyers thoroughly before contacting them

Before engaging with potential buyers, it is important that the salesperson researches the potential customer, thoroughly and effectively. If the salesperson is used to a more traditional fast-paced sales environment, taking the time at the onset of the sales process to research may seem like an alien process.

However, first impressions matter, and considering the consultative selling method prides itself on expert knowledge, you need to make sure that you have done enough research. Similarly, consultative selling involves asking probing questions, and without enough research it can be difficult or almost impossible for salespeople to ask probing questions.

2. Define the Symptoms – What are the symptoms of the problem the potential customer is facing?

During this first step the salesperson will try to get an understanding of the issue at hand. Here the salesperson will play a role of expert consultant, where their expertise of the industry can be used to discuss the issues.

It is likely that the buyer may only have a surface-level knowledge of the symptoms, therefore the expertise of a consultative salesperson is vital.

At this stage, it is vitally important that the salesperson doesn’t revert to a more traditional techniques and try to sell products or services. This is because, it is very early in the process, and it is unlikely that the salesperson will have formed a fully rounded understanding of the issues at hand, and could recommend the wrong solution.

3. Root cause analysis – ask the buyer questions to understand and diagnose the underlying causes.

During this stage, the salesperson will need to dig deeper into the problem, and find out what is causing it.

By digging deeper into the problem, the salesperson can use their knowledge to generate powerful questions that will reassure the buyer that they are dealing with an expert in the field, and that they can use their expertise to offer solutions to their problem.

This step can be a really powerful tool to build the buyers confidence in the salesperson.

4. Business impact – Ask how the issue is impacting on the business. Does it impact on morale, performance, profitability or all three?

At this stage, the salesperson and the buyer have agreed on a diagnosis of the issue, and they will now begin to understand how this impacts on the business.

If the issue has very little impact on the business, in terms of profitability or revenue, then it is very unlikely that the buyer will look to make a significant contribution (either financially or with their time) to finding a solution.

If this is the case, or if the salesperson knows that their product or service isn’t the solution to the buyers problems, then the salesperson should cut their losses here.

5. Financial Impact – Find out how much the problem will cost the business if they do not fix it.

Identifying the financial impact of the issue is another major milestone in the consultative sales method. This can be easier to measure in objective measurements, such as monetary values, rather than subjective measurements such as staff morale or culture, which are far more difficult to monitor.

If the financial impact runs into the hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, and the solution only costs £10,000 then this could be a very attractive proposal for the buyer. Alternatively, if the solution costs £100,000, and it would only save the company £10,000 each year, it will be a much less attractive proposition to the buyer.

6. Personal Impact – Find out how the problem affects the buyer personally – how does it affect their day to day job?

Potential buyers are far more likely to be convinced by a solution, if the issue directly impacts upon them. This is why when using the consultative selling skills, it is vitally important to make sure that you are speaking to the right person.

If the salesperson and buyer are involved in a complex sales solution, it is likely that the 6 step process above may need to be repeated. It may also need to be repeated with different departments and stakeholders. Whilst this inevitably adds to the time taken to sell a product or service, patience is an important aspect of consultative sales.

consultative selling skills
Consultative Selling Approach

What do you need to be a good consultative salesperson?

Consultative selling requires some key selling skills which aren’t necessarily associated with more traditional selling methods. This includes:

  • Active Listening – traditionally salespeople aren’t renowned for their listening skills, but under the consultative selling method, using active listening is a key requirement. Not only does it help understand the buyers issues, it also helps you stand out from the crowd. As buyers are being turned off by hard sales pitches, if a buyer needs to choose between two similar products, they may choose for the one with the sales person that genuinely listened to their issues.
  • Emotional intelligence – This covers peoples ability to evaluate, perceive and control emotions. Buying and selling remains an emotional process, and it is important for salespeople to respond to the buyers emotions.
  • Expertise – Because consultative selling requires the salesperson to really delve deep into issues, it is important that sellers are experts in their field. However, no one wants to be overawed with information, so the salesperson will need to communicate their expertise efficiently.
  • Domain knowledge – Similar to expertise, salespeople will need to have a specialised knowledge of the whole domain. Not only do salespeople need to know what their customers want, they need to know what their customers’ customer want.
  • Self-awareness – Consultative salespeople will need to understand and manage our thoughts and the impact that can have on people.
Consultative Sales Training
Consultative Selling Approach

What questions to ask?

Asking the right questions is probably the most important part of consultative selling. Asking aimless questions or having an unstructured conversation with a potential buyer, is unlikely to either build rapport or project confidence. Whilst consultative selling doesn’t involve hard selling, salespeople can still funnel a conversation one way by using structured and well designed questions. Using specialised questioning techniques when combined with active listening and the required expertise can be a winning combination.

There are several types of consultative selling questions. They are:

  • Open ended questions – These are used to gather further information
  • Closed questions – Should be used for confirmation
  • Summary questions – Sales professionals should will summarise or paraphrase the prospective buyers statement and turn it into a question. These are used to confirm the correct understanding of issues.
  • Funnelling questions – These channel the conversation through a particular area.
  • Redirect questions – Sales Professionals should use these questions to control the conversation and move the sales process forward.
  • Opposing redirect – These questions is answering a question with a question back to the buyer.
  • Presumptive questions – Presumptive questions are questions when the salesperson knows or presume the prospective buyer does not know the answer.

Which Products and Services are best suited to Consultative Sales Techniques?

The great thing about Consultative sales techniques are that they can be used in almost any industry, or with any product or service. Our own clients sell a wide range of services from Waste Management through to Aircraft Manufacturing each using a consultative sales approach.

Furthermore, once you have mastered the system it can be as flexible as possible. We have clients using a consultative sales approach and closing deals on one inbound sales call, and we also have clients using the exact same consultative approach to close large enterprise deals through a six month sales cycle.

What is Consultative Sales Training?

Consultative selling requires a change in mindset and as such effective training is vitally important. As a specialist sales provider we offer training in consultative sales, and a range of courses from giving people a solid baseline understanding of the method through to those seeking to master the sales techniques.

As an international training provider we believe that sales teams learn better if they are doing the task, rather than reading text books or watching a presentation, and as such part of our training includes role place sessions. Consultative sales training also cover all aspects of the sales process, including social selling techniques.

It is also important to remember that consultative selling requires ongoing reinforcement training, so you should consider booking in several sessions, to ensure that your sales team do not revert to their natural selling habits.

Outside of training, under any sales technique it is important that sales professionals have enough support and encouragement. This is even more important under the consultative selling technique. Sales coaching from a sales manager between training sessions, can be a vitally important resource.

You can check out our course on consultative sales and book online here.

Best B2B Sales Blog | International Recognition for Klozers

Sales Training Company UK

Best B2B Sales Blog

Edinburgh based, Business 2 Business Sales Training specialists Klozers have been recognized as one of only 12 companies worldwide for their Sales Blog in the Top Sales Awards.

Klozers blog was a Finalist in the Top Company Sales & Marketing Company Blog, and the only UK company represented in this category of the prestigious sales industry awards. 

Created in January 2020 Klozers wanted to use the blog to demonstrate best practice in Inbound & Outbound selling.  

Founder Iain Swanston explained:

“When the lockdowns started in March 2020 we lost all of our order book, as we were like every other traditional training company in that our training was all delivered face to face.  We regrouped and introduced online learning, but we also doubled down on our blog, as we knew it could help with lead generation.”

With an average Google page rank of 16.4 the blog has over 120 articles listed on page 1 of Google. 

These articles have helped the company grow through the lockdown period, with new inquiries generated from the blog accounting for over 30% of revenue in 2021.

The blog has helped raise brand awareness for Klozers abroad, helping them secure new clients in the US, Eastern Europe and the Far East. 

Klozers founder, Iain Swanston was delighted with the award and commented:

“As a company we have put a lot of effort into both the strategy, and the blog content itself, so it’s great to see the results in terms of real sales orders and the recognition from the Top Sales Awards body.  As the only UK company in the Finals for this category we had stiff competition from some of the US and worlds best sales and marketing experts, so I’m really proud of what our team has achieved.”

As a company Klozers works with small to mid-market organisations to help them compete with the giants and large brands in their industry and win. 

Klozers has a full compliment of B2B sales training and coaching courses available online and specialises in helping organisations maximise their Inbound and Outbound sales capabilities.

How to Write a Sales Plan in 8 Easy Steps (with FREE Template)

How to Write a Sales Plan

In this article we will cover...

 

1. How to write a Sales Plan

Few businesses manage to meet or exceed their sales goals without a sales plan, or should I say successfully create a Sales Plan and execute it.

Creating a sales plan helps you to establish your sales objectives, and outline the steps you will take to reach them.

A typical sales plan will include information on how the growth will be achieved (this is sometimes referred to as your sales strategies and tactics) and how sales will be measured.

Measuring the sales of your product or service may seem simple, but there are often important indicators and metrics other than revenue that can and should be used to measure the success of the execution of the sales plan.

Your plan may also feature details about target customers and their pain points, the sales process, roles and responsibilities, revenue targets, revenue goals, business goals and a sales and marketing strategy for your products and services.

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of the benefits of a sales plan you will take the next step and grab a free download our template in order that you can start creating a sales plan for your own business.

2. Different types of Sales Plans

Unfortunately, given all the differences between industries, companies and products there is no single plan that can be applied to every business. There are 3 main differences you should be aware of as follows:

1. Customer Base – are you selling to an established customer base where you need to manage existing accounts or are you selling to a greenfield territory where you need to focus on opening new accounts? In reality, it’s often a mixture of the two.

2. Market Movement – is the market stable enough to allow you to repeat what’s delivered your sales numbers in previous years or is the market changing and forcing you to change at the same time?

3. Business Strategy – the sales plan needs to meet or exceed the objectives of the business plan. The plan therefore needs to be aligned with the company mission and overall business strategy. If part of the business strategy is to divest risk from one income stream, the sales plan needs to reflect this.

Sales are the fuel that powers the ship, however it’s the business that decides where the ship is going.

3. Increasing Your Sales Revenues

At times sales can seem very complicated, however, it’s worth remembering there are only three ways to increase sales revenues as follows:

a) Increase sales by selling to accounts aligned with your ideal target customers

b) Increase sales by selling more to current customers

c) Raise your prices

The growth in your Sales plan must reflect at least one of the above, but preferably all three. You must also allow for “churn” as every business no matter how good they are will lose customers over time.

Even if you do nothing wrong customers will go bankrupt, they will be taken over, they will move away and you will lose business.

Reducing customer churn may well be part of your growth strategy. Anything you can do to increase your Customer Lifetime Value is always worthwhile and will stand you in good stead in the future.

Back to Table of Contents

4. Preparing for Success

Sales plans are primarily designed to help you achieve more sales. They should include information on what your current situation is, what you are aiming for and what you need to do to make your vision a reality.

Sales plans are like a roadmap your team can follow to achieve success. Without this roadmap they will take longer to achieve their targets as they move slower and possibly even in a different direction.

A more focused and driven team

A key benefit of every sales plan is that it can help make your team members more focused on achieving a specific goal, or series of goals.

Once a sales plan is in place, your team should have a firmer, more coherent idea of what your aims are. They should also have a more specific idea of what steps they personally need to take to achieve them.

Sales plans can also help you prevent a decline in sales over time by keeping your team focused and delivering a constant sense of purpose.

They can also help you make the most of your team’s specific capabilities and assign roles to the most suitable employees.

Creating confidence

Confidence is an important yet often overlooked part of the sales success in any organisation.

A well written Sales Plan will give confidence and direction to the sales team and once you have a robust sales plan in place, you’re more likely to attract or keep investors and other stakeholders on-side.

The sales plan should also include information on the likely and possible challenges you envisage and how you plan to overcome them.

Clarity and coherence

Sales plans should be straightforward, so they can be easily understood by people outside the sales department.

There is no point filling your sales plan full of sales jargon which some team members may struggle to comprehend.

It’s essential that your sales plan firmly outlines your plans and goals for the period that it covers in an easy-to-read format.

If you would like help creating and implementing your sales plan we offer a full sales consultancy service and would love to talk to you about how we can work alongside your team to drive revenue growth.

5. Frameworks for a sales plan

We’ve put together a framework for your Sales Plan in Microsoft PowerPoint so it can double up as a presentation document. It includes easy to complete sections on:


1. Review – Learning what’s worked and what hasn’t from the previous year is an essential part of any sales plan. This way we can repeat or increase what’s been working and reduce, eliminate or adapt what didn’t work.

It’s also wise to look at your past data when setting targets. Do you have a good track record of hitting your targets? If you have failed to reach your aims in the past, do you know the reasons for this?

By closely assessing your past performance, you can optimise the chances of your latest campaign being a success and avoid setting unrealistic targets.

2. Sales Team – salespeople are a key part of the sales success in any organisation and should always be included in the plan.

In addition to showing past performance you should demonstrate how you plan to support them over the life of the plan by way of training and coaching.

Details of the training should be recorded in each employees PDP (Personal Development Plan) and Coaching should be recorded in individual coaching worksheets.

There may be times where every sales person has similar development needs but at as a minimum the coaching should always be bespoke.

3. Strategy – this is simply a high level statement on how you will approach selling to your market. The details such as goals, priorities and milestones of the strategy will be laid out in the Objectives section of the sales plan.

An example of a Strategy would be the Big Bets or Blockbuster strategy. Imagine if you were running a movie company and you were choosing what movies to invest $100,000,000 in over the next 12 months.

Would you take your $100,000,000 and invest £1 million dollars in 100 films or would you invest £10 million and try to create 10 blockbusters?

Perhaps your strategy is to move your customer base from Mid Market to Enterprise accounts. Your strategy might be to expand your portfolio to meet more of your customers needs and keep the competition out.

Your strategy may be the opposite and you might want to reduce and streamline your portfolio.

Removing choice allows you to focus sales and marketing resources and lower operating costs. We’re great fans of the Blockbuster strategy because we love the focus and simplicity it brings.

We accept there is an increased risk when you focus on fewer options, however, there should be some form of validation in your Blockbuster strategy. Will the next Bond movie be a hit? Well based on previous Bond movies yes.

So the majority (not all) Blockbusters should already be proven revenue streams that you are simply doubling down on.

4. SWOT analysis – thi is where you can document your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to help form and validate your sales strategy. Please remember the SWOT should only refer to your sales strategy.

The SWOT serves as proof that you and your team have undertaken some critical thinking around your sales strategy and have taken the time to think each aspect of the strategy through.

Once you have completed a SWOT analysis you can use the data to form a strategy that minimises the Weaknesses & Threats and maximises the strengths and opportunities.

5. Objectives – Your sales plan must be based around genuinely achievable targets. It will be much harder to get your team to embrace your sales plan if your aims are unrealistic or unreasonable.

It’s fine to be ambitious, but your goals still need to be realistic. Unrealistic or unachievable goals will only serve to demoralise the sales team and lead to them giving up.

Your aims and strategies need to be measurable so you can track the progress that you are making. You must include research that supports your aims, especially if your targets seem particularly ambitious.

Setting growth targets/objectives in the plan


Growth targets in a sales plan can vary wildly. Some sales plans are based on what the company wants to achieve over the next quarter, whilst others have longer-term 12 month goals.

It would be unusual to have a sales plan that was longer than 12 months as markets and customers can change so quickly.

Your sales plan needs to be agile enough to respond to these changes quickly. The best sales plans will feature detailed information on which activities need to take place and what kind of resources need to be used in order to generate success.

A simple method for sales forecasting would be to take the previous years monthly sales figures and then add 20% to each month. This provides a monthly sales target that accounts for any seasonal changes, and after 12 months will have delivered 20% annual growth.

It’s normally best practice to list separate sales objectives for:
product mix
new customers vs existing customers
sales by region
sales by vertical
individual sales reps

Whilst tracking each element may seem overkill, this allows you to quickly adapt your sales plan and implement contingency plans if required. For example, if one vertical is under-performing you may choose to divert resources into other verticals that are more active.

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing Kotler
How to Create a Sales Plan

6. Sales Tactics and Techniques – after Strategy and planning comes the tactics. These are quite simply the approaches you will use to deliver the objectives of the sales plan.

Your sales tactics should call out the tasks and activities the sales team will be doing on a daily basis to implement the plan.

Tactics could be as simple as changing the sales messaging to match a new market or retraining customer service teams in up-selling existing accounts.

Perhaps you want your sales team to invest more time on Social media using tools like LinkedIn to identify new prospects or your interested in starting a cold email campaign.


7. Metrics – it’s important to agree on what success looks like how you will measure it before you start any project.

There are lots of great systems and tools available for this, however, you should make a list of tracking methods that you will be using for the duration of your plan.

These can include your selling strategies, techniques used for monitoring and performance metrics.

Where possible:
a) use existing systems and tools like CRMs that are already in place and being used, so you don’t get dragged into a software implementation project.

b) the recording of the measures should not create any additional workload for the salespeople as they are then less likely to complete them.

c) where possible use lead indicators and not lag indicators. Examples of a lead indicator could be the number of qualified new sales leads created and a lag indicator is the monthly revenue.

Whilst the revenue is important if we wait till the end of the month to get the revenue figures and we miss the target it’s too late.

Measuring the lead indicators allows us to take corrective action before the lag indicator is missed.

SaaS companies often track subscriptions to their app which is important but the lead indicator could be as simple as the number of visitors to the website.

You wil need to make a list of tracking methods that you will be using for the duration of your plan. These can include your selling strategies, techniques used for monitoring and performance metrics.

We use Sales Scorecards to record and track KPI’s, however, there are many different methods to track KPI’s from simple spreadsheets to online apps.

8. Budget – sales and selling costs money. Whether it’s a simple Linkedin Sales Navigator subscription or a 6 figure Expo in Las Vegas everything in sales costs money which needs to be budgeted for.

Budgets will vary greatly from one company to another, however you should always attempt to quantify the costs in advance.

Companies that do not have formalised budgets for Sales and work on an ad hoc basis are by nature lower down on the Sales Maturity model.

If you plan to spend a considerable figure during the period, you’ll need to justify this to your stakeholders. The plan should include detailed figures to illustrate where your budget will be going.

If you’re investing in new resources during the period, add an ROI analysis to your sales plan to help justify the investment.

You may also wish to budget for unforeseen costs such as recruitment, should a sales person leave unexpectedly you need to replace them.

If you’re not given the required budget, you may need to make changes to your sales plan, but you don’t necessarily need to scrap it completely.

Back to Table of Contents

6. Sales Plan Content

Your sales plan shouldn’t only consist of text. Wherever possible it’s worth have the document professional designed.

If you choose to use a template like ours you need to include your own branding as a minimum. It’s common for lists, tables, graphics, screenshots and charts to be used to convey key information about the company’s aims and the market you serve.

The sales plan should also feature research about what’s currently occurring in your industry This means it’s important to include statistics based on the latest research.

It’s also advisable to research your existing customers and targets market before you start creating your sales plan.

Depending on what sector you’re based in, there may be more demand from one market segment than there was in previous years.

Conversely, groups you were previously targeting may not be as interested in your products and services as they once were. Wherever possible do research so you can back up any positions you have taken.

Remember, your document doesn’t need to be incredibly formal, but it does need to be coherent and easy to comprehend.

7. Encouraging Buy In

Once you have completed your sales plan, you’ll need to present it not only to your team but your stakeholders and relevant managers too.

If you can’t get these on board, your plan is unlikely to be effective. The more convincing your sales plan is, the more enthusiasm you can generate.

The management is also more likely to release your budget if you can present an impressive well-thought-out sales plan.

With this in mind it’s always best to include other people in the creation of the Sales Plan. Getting buy-in from Sales people will be much easier if they helped create the document and senior management are much more likely to allocate budget if they have been included in the whole process.

With this in mind it’s worth asking your salespeople to create mini-plans and forecasts specific to their territory and then rolling these into the master plan.

This is a good way to develop ownership and responsibility within your sales team and provides a good reference point for future coaching.

A well-designed and executed sales plan can take your business to the next level. Just remember to keep it realistic and comprehensible so others ‘buy-in’ to it.

Whether you are a new business, a small business, a mid market or enterprise organisation the benefits of a well written sales plan are high. When done right your sales plan will position you for both short term and long term success.

Often an effective sales plan will play an important part with aligning the sales team’s activities and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals and moving forward.

Free Sales Plan Template

Download a free template so you can start enjoying the benefits of strategic and effective planning.

The free template is available for download as a Microsoft Word document to get you started.

This template is one of over 30 sales tools and templates available in our sales playbook.

 

5 Easy Ways for Using MS Teams for Sales

Using MS Teams for Sales - desk

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

In this article we will cover...

Using MS Teams for Sales

We’ve previously written about how we use Microsoft OneNote for Sales Management for everything from recording meeting notes through to online sales coaching and training and sales playbooks. We are big fans of OneNote, but what really turbocharges OneNote for us, is the ability to create, store, access and use inside MS Teams.

With so many people now using MS Teams from home Teams has gone from a Business product to a household brand that everyone can use. Unlike its competitors that lack the Enterprise level of security, MS Teams has multilayered security allowing users to configure Teams to bring sales prospects, customers and employees all together. In some cases that might not be appropriate, however, in many cases we help our clients configure Teams so they have:

  1. Using the Public Access feature to deliver Live Events & Sales Webinars for Lead Generation
  1. Using Group Access to position your business as an Industry thought leader
  1. External Company access for Sales Prospects to take them through a Complex Sales Process
  1. In house access where Teams for Managing Sales Opportunities, for example, collaborating on Tenders
  1. In House access where Teams is used as the “host platform” for a Learning Management System based on OneNote, MS Forms, Planner, Yammer, Stream, To Do, Calendar and My Analytics or even third party apps like Moodle.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these scenarios and see why using MS Teams for sales makes so much sense.

1. Public Access for Live Events using MS Teams for Sales

Every business needs new customers and the Live Events feature inside Teams allows you to create and run events open to the public as part of your Lead Generation Programme. Over the years we have found that many Salespeople struggle to pick up the telephone and make sales calls.

Some even struggle to send emails and LinkedIn connection requests because they are introverts and don’t want to face the possible rejection that comes in sales. We’ve found that create FREE high-value Events are a great way to overcome this because most Salespeople are much happier calling or emailing a FREE invitation. The reality is Events are a great way to position your business, raise awareness and start conversations with prospects.

If you’re struggling with ideas on what High-Value event you could deliver think about what’s relevant and what’s current. Are there changes in Legislation surrounding your industry? Are their new trends in your industry?

If you’re still unsure look up your Industry News site and run a Live Event on the topic they are headlining with. If you don’t know anything about the topic find the expert source that the News article referenced and interview them for the Live event using questions from the attendees.

ENABLING THE LIVE EVENTS FUNCTIONS INSIDE MS TEAMS

If you are planning on using MS Teams for Sales, the Public Access feature may not be available or switched on in your companies current MS Teams platform. If Public Access is not available then you will require a user with Admin Rights to switch this feature on from inside the Teams Admin Centre. Once Inside the Admin Centre you should look for the Meetings section and from there the Live Events policies. Please check the video for easy to follow directions.

Using MS Teams for Sales - Live Event Schedule
Using MS Teams for Sales – Live Event Schedule

The notes not only help us remember what was said and what next steps need to be taken they are great for referring back to when we send a “Thank you for meeting me email” with a summary of the notes and if we need to create a proposal or presentation later in the sales process.

If you are in the Admin Centre it’s worthwhile using the additional features in Teams to customise your Meeting Invitations:
Your Company Logo
Your Legal T’s and C’s
Your Support Contact for the Event
Your Company strapline in the Footer
These are then displayed whenever a recipient opens their Meeting Invite.

We should point out we’re not a Tech Channel so here are the links to Microsofts’ own guide to making these changes.

Getting started with Microsoft Teams Live Events

Setting up Live Events in MS Teams

Once you have Live Events configured you can create your own Event from inside teams by clicking on Calendar and then use the drop-down menu to access the live events option.

Using MS Teams for Sales - Live Event
Using MS Teams for Sales – Live Event

From here you can then add the Meeting Title and all the details. Next, simply copy the link and insert it into your emails or lead generation campaigns.

2. Group Access for Sales using MS Teams

Whereas Public Access in MS Teams is a great platform for Live events, we recently configured Teams for a client who wanted a Channel to communicate with a specific industry that was going through huge changes with the Pandemic and needed a platform to talk to them.

They invited over 350 customers and 450 prospects into Teams and are delivering weekly updates to an entire industry. They are now seen as thought leaders in the industry and it’s a great way to start conversations that lead to relationships that lead to sales.

You can use the same strategy and use MS Teams to create a platform so that you can talk to your industry.

You could deliver updates on new laws and regulations, industry trends and insights, interview industry thought leaders and invite your customers to talk about their businesses and experiences.

We would, however, warn against overtly selling in these types of communications as the minute the audience believes they are being sold to, they will start to drop out and the Channel will wither.

3. Company Access for Sales Prospects inside MS Teams

In B2B Sales it’s increasingly difficult to reach all the decision-makers in the Sales Process. In many cases they send a “Scout” to find information not available on your website and do all they can to keep Salespeople at a distance throughout the buying process.

What these buyers want is information and in most cases a quote or proposal and when they have it they immediately cease all contact. This can be a huge waste of time and money for the selling organisation as tenders become more and more complicated, needing multiple people in the way of bid teams to respond. If you’re not sure if this is happening to you simply check back through your CRM and you’ll see that many deals stall immediately after the prospect receives the pricing and information they need.  

There is no easy way around this however what’s working for our clients is offering limited information up-front and then holding back until the other Decision Makers engage. They do this by re-framing the sales opportunity as a project and using Teams as the “Project Management Portal” to gather the needs of all the “stakeholders”.

This brings the buyers out and allows a controlled release of the information in exchange for engagement. This doesn’t work on every deal however it very quickly “smokes” out the genuine buyers from those just using the Salespeople for pricing.

An additional benefit of this approach is the Sales Team can invite Pre-Sales, operations, delivery teams and aftercare teams to the Teams Channel in the solution forming phase of the sale which can provide a richer sales experience for the customer. This is a great point of differentiation and whilst no sales strategy works every time it’s low cost and easy to try.

Lastly this strategy shouldn’t be applied across the board unless every sales opportunity is large and comes with a bespoke solution. We only implement this for deals above £10k, but you can choose where to set the bar.

4. Inhouse Access for Using Teams on Bids & Tenders

The most common use for MS Teams is the call and video conferencing functions, however, there is much more functionality that can help Sales Teams sell more. MS Teams makes Sales Teams more productive, more focussed and delivers a better user experience which in turn increases productivity.

There are numerous advantages with Teams such as the chat function, which allows us to stay connected without cluttering up our Outlook Inbox. Whether it’s Yammer, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or any of the other O365 products, they can all be accessed and worked on from inside the Teams environment.

If you have bid teams responding to tenders the Bid documents can be created, stored and developed within the Teams environment and Tender Teams can collaborate and even edit the same document simultaneously.

In many cases the Bid creation process can run down to the deadline and when multiple authors are involved which can create time delays as each contributes and updates potentially separate copies of the one document. The Multi author allows uses inside Teams to make edits and additions live and see the document develop as their work colleagues contribute in real time.

Whether it’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any of the other O365 products, they can all be accessed and worked on from inside Microsoft Teams.

5. Teams as a Learning Management System

Many companies now acknowledge the tangible benefits of training, coaching and developing their people. Sales Training and Coaching itself has changed and improved over the years, whereas in the past training was in most cases was one-off event, they are now almost always part of a bespoke sales training programme. In order to deliver these programmes software companies have developed SaaS models where companies can create bespoke learning programmes.

There are numerous Learning Management Systems on the market each with some great functionality, however, Microsoft Teams has for most companies all the functionality they will ever need from an (LMS). Furthermore, the beauty of using MS Teams as an LMS is both compelling and simple:

  1. You are already paying for it with your 0365 Licence
  2. Your people are already working inside the O365 suite every hour of every day so that’s a great place for learning.

Although there is no one standard in terms of the functionality of an LMS, for most companies an LMS has the capability to, create, document, record, measure, store and deliver training programmes. In practical terms this means:

Using OneNote for Sales Management - Coaching Notes
Using MS Teams for Sales – OneNote as an LMS

Create. Document, Record. You can create learning content in OneNote, MS Wiki, MS Paint, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Stream, MS Whiteboard, Excel, Publisher.

Measure. You can test and measure learning using all of the above and MS Planner and MS Forms.

Store. You can store all your content in either One Drive or SharePoint.

Deliver. You can deliver all your training and coaching using MS Teams and acknowledge achievements via MS Praise.

In addition to the suite of O365 tools there are many additional third-party applications available from inside MS Teams to both enhance and compliment your existing applications. For example, you can connect to

CRM systems – MS Dynamics CRM, Salesforce CRM, NImble, Zoho or iGlobe CRM.
Productivity – Asana, Trello, Jira & Stormflow.
Communications – Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp, Mail Clerk & Text Bot.

There are hundreds of other applications available and the number of these apps including Moodle which is a stand alone LMS that can be connected into your Teams Channel.

We’ve also written on the benefits of using OneNote for Sales Management and Coaching which are an important part of any LMS. We rally like the combined functionality of MS Teams and OneNote as a Coaching platform to help develop Salespeople.

You can break down your Training into competencies and deliver bespoke sessions on specifics like sales prospecting, pipeline management sales closing techniques all from inside your own Sales Playbooks in OneNote. We use our Sales Playbooks with every client and the combination of creating and using OneNote for the Playbook, and delivering them through Teams is really powerful.

6. Recommended Reading

If you would like to discover some of the free templates that we use inside teams then check out our B2B Sales Tools.

Top 9 Hacks Using OneNote for Sales Management

Using OneNote for Sales Management

In this article we will cover...

Sales Teams with Sales Playbooks are 33% MORE likely to be high performers with win rates exceeding 50%

Followers of our blog here will know we are big fans of the suite of work tools contained in Microsoft Office. As the marketing says they truly do bring Enterprise-Class tools to Mid Market and SME’s. We wanted to share some practical tips on how we and our clients use OneNote for Sales Management to save time and drive productivity.

In amongst Office 365 is Microsofts digital notebook OneNote which is undoubtedly one of our favourites. It did take some time to understand and learn how to use it and we’re pretty sure that we are still nowhere near using the product to it’s maximum.

Since becoming converts we’ve added the Onetastic Addin which gives us additional functionality and a huge range of Macros that simply supercharge OneNote for Sales Management.  

With that said, if you can add any tips that will help us and other OneNote Users then please do so in the comments section at the bottom of this post. So here are the top 9 hacks

1. Note-taking for Sales Meetings

Everyone knows the importance of taking accurate notes during a Sales Meeting with prospects and customers, however, we always found it difficult to remember the questions and steps that we needed to follow in our Sales Process.

In addition to capturing the usual meeting details like attendee names and telephone numbers, we wanted to capture details like the Buyers Primary Sensory Dominance and their Personal DiSC style. All together it was just too much information for us to remember so we created a simple template in OneNote based on a Word Document we’d been using.

In addition to capturing those details we included a visual prompt to help us remember the most important questions and finally, the very last question captures any Next Steps that are agreed. We record these “next steps” using the Outlook Tasks integration inside OneNote which automatically adds this to Task in Outlook.

Most Salespeople may prefer to keep these types of notes inside their CRM and there’s a great article here on how to integrate OneNote with Microsoft Dynamics 365.  For Salesforce users you can set up an integration with OneNote via Zapier Integrations here

You can design your own page for Meeting or Project Notes and save it as a template for easy access every time you need it. 

Using OneNote for Sales Management – Page Templates

Lastly, it’s possible to use the audio recording function in OneNote to record meetings however we would not recommend this in a Sales Meeting.  

PROS OF ONENOTE FOR SALES MEETINGS

We prefer using OneNote because it allows us to take notes freehand and despite our poor attempts at handwriting we can always use the convert to text feature if needed to tidy things up.

In addition to being able to write freehand with the Microsoft pen we also try to use visual note-taking techniques that we know from our sales training is proven to aid memory retention and focus. Everyone is different but we prefer writing notes rather than typing them in a meeting.

The notes not only help us remember what was said and what next steps need to be taken they are great for referring back to when we send a “Thank you for meeting me email” with a summary of the notes and if we need to create a proposal or presentation later in the sales process.

CONS OF ONE NOTE FOR SALES MEETINGS

We suspect the biggest negative will be that unless you are using Dynamics CRM or Salesforce then OneNote may not integrate with your own CRM. That said, I am sure you would be able to cut and paste the notes over into another CRM.

Back to Table of Contents

2. Sales Coaching Notes

Coaching Salespeople is arguably more powerful than sales training when it’s done well. One of the key foundations of Sales Coaching is keeping accurate notes for both the coach and the coachee to refer back to. As you would expect this should be cloud-based and is one of the easiest things you can set up.

  1. Create a Section in OneNote for each Sales Rep that you are coaching. You may be rightly concerned about privacy here as it’s not normal to have sales coaching notes which should be private available for other team members to view. This is easily solved by setting password protection on each section.  
  2. Create a new page inside OneNote and then use a Template for your coaching process. We use the GROW sales coaching model however you can use any model you choose. In our situation where we mostly provide online Sales Coaching we part complete the notes during the coaching session and then finish them immediately at the end of the calls.  

Immediately after each sales coaching session, we email a summary of any action points to the coachee so they know what commitments they have made before the next session.
As with the Sales Meeting Notes template, you can design your own page around your sales coaching process and save it as a template for easy access when the next coaching session is due.

Using OneNote for Sales Management - Coaching Notes
Using OneNote for Sales Management - Coaching Notes

3. Sales Performance Reviews

If you’re using OneNote for Sales Management it can easily help you review the individual performance of your Sales Team. Again OneNote Make this easy by using the sections function with password protection.

This can easily be included as an extra page inside the Sales Reps section next to their Sales Coaching notes or if the Coaching is being provided by someone other than the manager then you can either set up a different notebook or a different section within the same notebook.

We typically use Sales Scorecards as a way to measure individual sales performance and this can be recorded inside OneNote or in a separate application with only the actual meeting notes being recorded in OneNote.

Again the main benefits are the ease of use and access for both employees and managers in addition to the security and privacy that OneNote provides.

4. Sales Training with OneNote

Historically Sales Training was conducted via 1 or 2-day events with participants receiving a training manual. With the advent of more Online Sales Training OneNote is a great repository to Store your sales training content. It’s easy to set Sections as Learning Modules and Pages as the Individual lessons. Inside the Lessons or pages, you can add Video, Audio or text-based content with quizzes and questions for each student.

Unlike traditional Sales Training which forces all students to learn at the same pace, OneNote allows us to create Self-paced learning modules which delivers much better learning results. In order to check students are meeting or exceeding learning goals, we integrate surveys and questions using the Microsoft Forms application for each student.

It’s also possible to create individual sales training sessions where you can assign learning content for individual Sales Reps allowing you to provide a more targeted learning approach. OneNote allows you to track and measure learning, and provide feedback on an individual basis to students.

Once you have created your Sales Training Lessons as a page in OneNote simply save the page as a Template and you can then insert this into any Sales Reps personal training when required.

A secondary training application if you’re using OneNote for Sales Management is the ability to use the full functionality to create onboarding programmes for new Sales Team members. The main benefit of using OneNote in this case would be the ability to record and document so many different types of styles of content in one location for easy access.

Once you’ve created your Notebook you can easily share Notebooks with colleagues online.

5. Using OneNote as CRM

Whilst we wouldn’t recommend using OneNote as a CRM application it can be. You can download a Sales Template from Auscomp which is based on the Kanban or card-based system, and whilst it doesn’t have the full functionality of a regular CRM, it works well for those who want to keep everything inside OneNote.  

What’s much more useful in our opinion is to use OneNote for what we would describe as “sales projects”. For us, these are typically large engagements that require some form of customisation and project management. These projects usually require multiple meetings with multiple decision-makers and additional support from contacts on our side.

In our case, we use OneNote inside a SharePoint site within the MS Teams environment that we create for client projects. Teams serves as a great comms platform and we use OneNote for the Note taking and sharing.

For Sales Opportunities that are not yet Customers but still require lots of notes and a degree of project planning, we use OneNote with sections added for Emails – Linked to Outlook Inbox. This allows us to forward emails relating to the opportunity from inside Outlook.

Contacts Linked to the Contacts in Outlook. This allows us to add contact details from Outlook that we need to share with our internal team working on the project.

Meetings linked to the Calendar function in Outlook. This allows us to insert future meetings from Outlook that may require some internal planning.

6. OneNote To-Do List Template

There are numerous free To Do templates inside OneNote which you can use or you can create your own which we have. We created a To-Do section with pages inside that are linked to the Tasks section in Outlook.

From Outlook we can send all Tasks to this page where we add them to a Prioritised To-Do Dashboard before assigning an owner, deadline and categorisation. This allows our whole team to have a single view of the current Workflow whilst still allowing users to work on the original Tasks that were sent from Outlook.  

The four sections in the main dashboard with examples of Tasks we use are:

CRISIS: URGENT / IMPORTANT

PRODUCTIVITY: NOT URGENT / IMPORTANT

DISTRACTION: URGENT / NOT IMPORTANT

WASTE: NOT URGENT / NOT IMPORTANT

Using OneNote for Sales Management – To Do List

7. Journaling with OneNote.

Daily Journaling is a powerful tool that helps Salespeople become more productive, set goals, learn through reflection and serves as a great all round personal development tool.

Most importantly journaling helps with Cognitive Processing and improves overall mental well being. In fact many people say that journaling changes their life.

Although not always popular every personal development guru recommends keeping a daily journal. Journals come in many forms and what’s most important is choosing the format that works for you.

The best journal we’ve come across is by the Sales Journal company however we have developed our own shorter journal which takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete every morning which seems to work better for Salespeople.

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8. Sales Team Meeting Agenda

Lastly the easiest and most common task for using OneNote for Sales Management is for note taking during a Weekly or Monthly Sales Team Meeting. As with every other task using OneNote for Sales Management we create a simple Agenda template which we can recreate every meeting with One click.

In addition to Note Taking we recommend recording every meeting in order that you obviously have a record of the meeting, but additionally, when members of the Sales Team are absent on holiday or sick there is a recording they can easily access to get ensure they don’t miss anything.

9. Sales Playbooks

We’ve definitely saved the best to last here because OneNote is just an amazing tool for creating, delivering and building Sales Playbooks. Whilst many playbooks are still static documents OneNote provides a live document that can be consistently accessed and updated by as many or as few people as you want.

All of the Tools and templates we’ve highlighted in this post can reside inside your OneNote Sales Playbook which makes the user experience even better.

Our OneNote Sales Playbooks are hosted inside MS Teams where we have dedicated Teams for each of our clients and each Team as their own customised playbook.

In fact when you combine MS TeamsOneNote, MS Forms, you have everything you need to create your own Learning Management System and given the cost of some of the LMS platforms this is a great way for smaller and mid market companies to enter the LMS & Sales Enablement world at a much lower price point.

10. Recommended Reading

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The Best Sales Playbook in the World

Designed & Built in OneNote for Sales Managers